Louis van Gaal has hinted he would be open to an approach from Tottenham Hotspur once his stewardship of Holland concludes after the summer's World Cup finals, with the London club's 1-0 defeat at Norwich on Sunday having left them six points from the Champions League qualification places.

The Dutchman, whose contract with his country expires after the tournament in Brazil, had spoken directly with the Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy, after the dismissal of André Villas-Boas in December but had made clear his intention to lead the national team to the finals in South America. Levy subsequently firmed up Tim Sherwood's position, the caretaker having made it clear he would not work on an interim basis before signing his own 18-month contract at White Hart Lane.

Yet Spurs' interest in Van Gaal has not waned even in light of Sherwood's impressive impact in his first senior management role. The 62-year-old's desire to coach in the Premier League before he retires makes him an attractive and – as a former manager at Barcelona, Ajax and Bayern Munich – heavyweight candidate at the end of the current season.

Asked about his future post-Brazil, when Guus Hiddink will again take up the reins with Holland, Van Gaal said: "I will definitely not be in charge for the Euro 2016 qualification campaign. I don't know where I will go next. Normally I go with my pension, and go to live in Portugal [where he owns a property], but maybe there will come a new challenge. I have said before that a challenge should be a club in the Premier League. That's a challenge. Maybe Tottenham are coming but, first, we have to go to Brazil."

Spurs had also sounded out Frank de Boer, currently in charge of Ajax, prior to elevating Sherwood formally from his position as youth co-ordinator at Tottenham, a role to which he has indicated he would not be prepared to return.

Sherwood was understandably downbeat after an unexpected defeat left them still fifth in the Premier League, but now six points behind Liverpool, and with a vastly inferior goal difference. "It's a big gap, a real blow to us," he acknowledged. "It's the first major setback I've had and we need to bounce back and show what we are made of."